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Now and Then: A Look at the History of the Honeywell Center

What memories do you have of the Honeywell Center? For most residents in Wabash and the surrounding region, the Honeywell Center has been a centralized recreational hub and meeting place for all. It’s the place to gather to enjoy a variety of musical performances, pieces of art, or to meet a friend for lunch.

Construction on the original Honeywell Center started in 1940, and the building has since undergone renovations in 1994 and again in 2016. Through the years, each renovation, addition and performance has added another moment of history to the Center.

Read below to learn more about the history of the Honeywell Center and how it has continued to morph into an incredible arts complex for entertainment and learning.

Constructing a Cultural Hub

The Honeywell Center was the byproduct of Mark C. Honeywell’s vision to provide the Wabash community with recreational and cultural opportunities for all ages. In 1940, construction began under the Center’s original name, the Honeywell Memorial Community Center. While the original structure was 45,000 square feet, it took approximately 10 years to complete due to material shortages during World War II.

At last, the structure was dedicated in 1952. Residents throughout Wabash and the surrounding region were thrilled with the new town center, as local school students took advantage of the roller skating rink, and adults enjoyed the lounge areas. In addition, children and adults alike enjoyed the gymnasium, which could transform into a performance hall featuring national touring acts.

The Miracle on Market Street

As the years progressed, more area residents flocked to the Honeywell Center to enjoy a sense of community. As the population and local needs grew, The Honeywell Foundation’s Board of Directors saw the need for a major addition in 1991.

Construction began under the project name of “The Miracle on Market Street.” Plans included a performing arts theater that would hold 1,500 guests, which we know today as Ford Theater.

In addition to Ford Theater, Eugenia’s Restaurant, Clark Art Gallery, Carpenter Plaza, Olivette Room and meeting and banquet spaces were added to the Honeywell Center. The grand renovation and addition project was completed in 1994, and in the process, became a premier performing arts center.

Fast Forward: The Honeywell Center Today

Over the years, many enhancements have been added to the Honeywell Center, other than physical renovations. For example, the Center is currently home to a wide range of performances each year, such as country, rock, Broadway productions and comedy shows.

The Center also added an educational outreach program in the 1990s, which offers curriculum-based education programs within the region.

If you visited the Honeywell Center this past summer, you probably noticed a little dust and caution tape. That’s because the Center launched another round of renovations to improve the aesthetics and use of the facility. Updates were made in the Porter lobby, Clark Gallery, restrooms, Green Room, Board Room and Eugenia’s Restaurant. New spaces were also added, including a family restroom, the Midwest Eye Consultants Concession stand and the Wabash Electric Connection in the lobby and lounge area.

If you haven’t seen the Honeywell Center’s latest improvements, stop on by! The venue has a packed list of shows and events throughout the year, and rental areas for private events, weddings and parties.

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